Technology that has been made for multifamily property management has seen a lot of advancement and innovation in the last few years. With so much new software, is there any harm in trying them out or is it better to just wait, and see?
Lisa Lawrence, Property Manager at Aura at Arbodale, a Bonaventure Property, chatted with Muhammad Yasin on our most recent sofa seminar about the latest in leasing tech. She is known for trying out new and different platforms at her property to see what is the best and what isn’t worth your time.
During this Sofa Seminar, they chatted through a wide range of topics including:
The Importance of Personalization
Integration within your Tech Stack
As a whole, a lot of us spent quarantine talking about going back to normal and that virtual leasing and leasing AI are fads that aren’t here to last post-pandemic. “There’s no advancement and growth in going back,” explains Lisa. With leasing AI, she knows that herself and her leasing specialists feel more educated and have more confidence when talking to prospects as AI Assistants have empowered them with better and more personalized data on prospects.
“We don’t sound like robots asking all these questions anymore because they have already talked to a robot who’s asked them,” she goes on. By handling prospects’ questions and only handing off qualified leads, leasing AI has saved Lisa and her team hours of work. They are able to talk to personalize the conversation and tour to make the prospect feel more at home. All this new tech has allowed Lisa and her team to make a bigger impact with prospects.
Lisa does note the importance of integration within your tech stack. For her, they use Entrata as their PMS. For any new tech they try out, whether its virtual leasing platforms or AI chatbots, if it doesn’t integrate smoothly, she doesn’t waste her time with it. At the end of the day, all this tech should be making it easier for teams to do their jobs and not create more work.
The multifamily industry has been known to be a little wary of embracing new technology. Within the last two years, the industry has seen how valuable being up to speed is. From virtual leasing and now to leasing AI, there have been a lot of new products to try. To all those who are still unsure, Lisa says “I don’t foresee it hurting, keep an open mind, it’s only going to benefit you.”
For every job in every industry, training is always important for onboarding and maintaining the quality of work expected. Training can include how to use new tech tools, a refresh on providing excellent customer service, or anything in between.
Angie Lombardi, VP of Marketing at The Franklin Johnston Group breaks down how she tackles training her own teams and the success and pitfalls she’s come across during a recent Sofa Seminar with our host and EVP of Marketing at PERQ, Muhammad Yasin.
During their almost hour long discussion, Angie had a few overarching themes in the way she handles training at The Franklin Johnston Group’s properties. These include:
How to give great customer service
The importance of adaptability
Being kind to one another
She went into how great customer service needs to be personable but not too intrusive. Angie talked about one of the servers at a restaurant that impressed The Franklin Johnston Group’s founders with how he mastered being personable but not too over the top and aggressive. She notes in her training program they talk about how team members need to mirror the prospect.
She also discussed how training doesn’t only happen with new team members, but is something that should be done over again with everyone so that the entire team knows exactly what is expected and are up to date on how to use their different tech tools. Angie also emphasized how kindness is important in the workplace. Encouraging team members to compliment each other and say something positive about someone is how she creates a work environment where everyone feels welcome and important.
She highlighted this to point out how toxic and bad managers will trickle down and turn even the most robust team members into giving the most average service. The point behind the kindness and constant training of everyone at every level is to combat bad management and create a welcoming atmosphere at all their properties. This atmosphere can be felt by prospects and residents as they interact with the onsite team and building staff.
To hear more about the specifics of Angie’s training process, you can catch up by watching the full Sofa Seminar below:
Digital marketing is and always will be evolving with the latest tech and innovative tools. No business in today’s world can survive long term without an active digital marketing plan. What does that look like for property management companies and multifamily communities?
Daniel Paulino, VP of Digital Marketing at Bozzuto, sat down with Muhammad Yasin, our EVP of Marketing, to take a deep dive into the world of digital marketing for mutlifamiy communities. From how to invest your digital dollars wisely, to how to help integrate tools that help the onsite teams, there’s a lot digital marketing can do for multifamily properties.
During this Sofa Seminar, they chatted through a wide range of topics including:
The Prospect’s Journey
Investing in your Tech Stack
Using Metrics to Measure Value
When it came to advice on how to look at your digital marketing efforts, Paulino said, “Bottom line there’s two main driving points that are extremely important; what does the prospect need and how is your business addressing that.”
Stand Out from the Crowd
Paulino noted how many prospects begin their journey on an ILS before getting to your property’s website. This means that they know a lot about pricing and amenities but they don’t know your property’s story. Your website should showcase who you are and what makes you different from other properties.
“Consumers have an obsession these days with floor plans,” Paulino continued to say. Your website needs to have high quality and informative floor plans. Whether they are 2D or 3D, interactive floorplans keep prospects interested and according to Paulino, he’s seen an increase in time spent on property websites that have quality floor plans.
He also made sure to emphasize that when you look at your tech stack and each individual tool, you can’t just look at one metric. Look at the prospect’s journey, what tools they interacted with and the data that was collected from them. While you need to look at multiple metrics, the most important data point Paulino wants multifamily communities to look at is the lead to lease conversion rate.
The chat between these two brilliant digital marketers is one to look back on for advice when you’re in a marketing rut and to make your properties stand out from the rest of the crowd.
This time last year, almost down to the day, our world shifted into a reality we are still living in. Being socially distant, quarantining to keep others and ourselves safe, and not visiting people or businesses in person became normal. In that time, video started to consume everyone’s lives.
Matt Weirich, CEO and Co-Fouder of Realync, a DIY video touring platform, sat down with PERQ’s EVP of Marketing, Muhammad Yasin, to take a look back at how virtual touring quickly became a go-to solution for multifamily communities and how to keep it relevant after the pandemic.
Create Meaningful Content
A large part of how the Realync team was able to scale their video solution so quickly during a critical time was their approach on authenticity.
Matt says “The biggest thing about fostering the feeling of ‘home’ is keeping it authentic.” Keeping a real and honest tone to videos allowed leasing teams to adapt and take the pressure off of shooting a production quality video.
One of the biggest takeaways of the conversation was “humanize the experience.” Don’t be afraid to use the prospect’s name in the video or call out specific details about the unit you know the prospect is searching for. At the end of the day, the unit you are showing them is going to be their home. The video should make them feel as such.
Once you are comfortable shooting the videos, you should think about how to take them to the next level. Following guidelines such as
Using a video stabilizer when possible
Stand and Pan! (Don’t walk and shoot at the same time)
Always try to shoot facing away from a window to allow natural light into the room
Being cohesive and showing a natural flow when editing
When in doubt, pre-recorded videos are your best friends
Video as a Multi-Channel Tool
Matt also mentioned how video can be used as a multi-channel tool instead of just for leasing teams.
Some examples of this is having your on-site team shoot and send a welcome video to new residents. Include where amenities are located, leasing office hours or simply an introduction of the team.
Maintenance teams can jump into video as well, providing examples of how to submit for maintenance requests or simple do’s and don’ts of when to call for maintenance help.
The most important thing to remember when using video as a multi-channel solution is know where and how to post your videos. If you are calling out a prospect’s name or any personal information in the video, that should be shared directly with that prospect and that prospect only. If your video is broad and shows off a unit, the amenities or members of the team, those can and should be shared anywhere prospects can view content (ex social media, YouTube, property website)
The Future of Video Tours
When asked about the future of video tours, Matt provided some great insight. He shared some words one of his Realync clients mentioned to him “It’s not up to me as a leasing agent to decide what the prospect does or does not want to see, it’s up to me to provide the opportunity.”
The biggest takeaway is many people have become accustomed to doing things virtually. Video is not going anywhere and it is up to multifamily teams to continue giving video tours as an option for their prospective renters.
PERQ EVP of Marketing, Muhammad Yasin, played host to another insightful lunch and learn which explored the challenges multifamily properties faced while trying to market to shifting consumer behavior during the pandemic. Guests Liv Gabrielsen, Director of Marketing for Bainbridge, and Scott Papenfus, Director of Strategic Partnerships for LCP360, chatted about the creative ways they’ve adapted efforts and the true impact of the pandemic with an in-depth conversation on:
When asked about big shifts in general as a result of the pandemic, Liv began by acknowledging what most businesses experienced, consumers embracing the digital experience.
“For multifamily, what it did is forced our industry to embrace all things digital as we saw stay-at-home orders. The COVID pandemic made us shift what we’re doing to ensure we can meet consumer demands in a 100% digital environment.”
She added that the industry knew they would need to embrace consumers’ digital demands eventually. The pandemic just accelerated the process.
“We’ve known this for years; it’s been moving in this direction,” Liv says. “For me, it was still a little bit of a shock of sorts — how fast we had to lean into some of the things or behaviors we were already thinking about, then suddenly over the course of a couple of weeks went from ‘Yeah, we’re going that way’ to ‘Now this is it.’”
Scott shared that, from a technology company’s perspective, they saw a huge increase in the number of virtual tours.
“You can literally look at a graph and just see this huge spike in virtual tours when the pandemic hit,” he says. “One of the key things we’re seeing is more and more people on-site are using our guided virtual tour or mirrored virtual tour.”
He explains consumers are not touring alone, instead doing so virtually with a leasing agent on-site who shares their knowledge and expertise about the property while customizing the tour for the prospect.
“I’ve really seen an uptick in interest is people wanting to perform kind of a hybrid — it’s a virtual tour, but it’s actually led by somebody on-site,” says Scott.
“For multifamily, we want that face-to-face interaction because our communities are more than just four walls,” Liv says. “It’s the community, the environment and the lifestyle. So, how do we communicate that in a digital way when we are removing these on-site visits? That was the challenge — we knew we had to provide a full picture of what it’s like to live in a Bainbridge community.”
Watch the full video to learn more about what Liv and Scott implemented to better serve and market to their customers during the pandemic.
Our EVP of Marketing, Muhammad Yasin, had a chance to hang out with Katrina Greene (CAM, Senior Regional Property Manager, and NALP Instructor) in a virtual chat on leasing agent training to find out why she views training as an ongoing process, not a one-time event. She had strong opinions on how training itself serves as an introduction or launch of behavior that will then require practice. She also stressed that you must be brave to succeed as a leasing agent, understand your value, and appreciate having a conversation, rather than taking orders.
During her chat with Muhammad, Katrina conveyed the importance of:
Human interaction in the leasing process
The benefit of listening to calls to identify training opportunities
Using positive affirmations with prospects
Demonstrating knowledge to earn the right to sell
She also shared tools and tips to make the communication effective and the experience memorable for prospective renters.
Much of the conversation with Katrina centered on reviewing phone conversations between leasing agents and prospects. She uses these calls to reinforce what’s working and identify opportunities for improvement — not only for the leasing agents but also for the properties as a whole. She says it’s important to give your team permission to fail and permission to succeed while demonstrating ways to improve — not just telling them what to do.
After listening to Katrina, it is obvious why the oath she keeps for every interaction works:
“I did everything I know to do using my knowledge, personality and skills to help this person understand my community is a great place for them.”